June 22, 2008



Location: 631 Commercial Dr, Vancouver
Telephone: 604-254-5633

For over 50 years, the family-run NICK'S SPAGHETTI HOUSE has been serving pasta to East Vancouver and it has become somewhat of a local tradition. If you were looking for a cheap plate of big pasta, you go to NICK'S, you want a quick bite before or after the game, you go to NICK'S. We'll as many times as I've known people to go to NICK'S, I've never been myself, until last week when I thought, hey, let's give this sucker a try. We'll try I did and I was very disappointed.

I went with my wife and our friend and as soon as I opened the menu, my eyes bulged at the prices, steep, steep, steep. I was lead to believe that this was a place for big, cheap pasta. Well, it isn't cheap, none of it, the average plate of pasta will cost you around $17 or $18, not what I was expecting. I ordered the Spaghetti & Meatballs, my wife ordered the Baked Lasagna and Victoria ordered the BBQ Ribs & Beef Ravioli and after waiting for 20 minutes, the food arrived.

I was greeted with a plate of pasta that had two giant meatballs on it and it was surrounded with sauce but as soon as lifted my pasta to mix it, underneath was sloppy with water (bad pasta draining). The sauce itself was weak, lacking taste other than lots of salt. Michelle's Lasagna had gigantic blocks of ricotta tossed throughout it which gave this otherwise bland dish a very uneven texture and flavor. Vic's raviolis were basic and while the rib meat itself was tender, the BBQ sauce tasted like it came from a bottle. All in all, three disappointing meals.

For the price that we are paying, there was very little taste and not alot to eat. If you are expecting the giant portions of Anton's in Burnaby don't bother with NICK'S, you pay more for less. If the portion size was large, I could justify the price and if the flavor was fantastic I could justify the size unfortunately it all falls down. Perhaps it was an off night, I mean this place has been around for over half a century but after talking to a few folks, they too find it overpriced and flavorless. Too bad.

NICK'S SPAGHETTI HOUSE is one local tradition you don't need to partake in. High prices do not equal high quality.

June 2, 2008



Location: 2nd Floor - 1133 Robson St, Vancouver
Telephone: 604-642-6278
Website: Savory Coast

As you know, I come from an Italian family of restaurateurs so whenever I eat at another Italian restaurant, I always look at it with an extra-critical eye. Luckily, my wife keeps me somewhat grounded in these situations and asks the simple question, "is it good?" Thankfully, she was in fine form when we tried SAVORY COAST for the first time, while it focuses more on "Mediterranean fare" rather than strict Italian, I came into expecting to be somewhat disappointed. I wasn't.

SAVORY COAST is good. Very Good. So good, we've been back four times.

Located in the heart of the extremely busy Robson Street, SAVORY COAST is on the second floor so blink and you might miss a great little hideaway. One of the best features of this good looking joint, is the giant, brush-surrounded patio that makes you forget you are sitting above one of the craziest streets in the city. What makes it even better is that they serve some of the best Sangria in town (your choice of red or white) which always starts off our meals and goes down way too easily.

As for the food, fantastic. Both my wife and I have yet to taste a disappointing plate. We've had Calamari, Goat Cheese Salad, Tuna Carpaccio, Bocconcini & Tomato Salad, Penne Amatraciana, Crab Risotto, Duck & Mushroom Risotto, Grilled Tuna Steak, NY Striploin, Veal Scallopini and Prosciutto Pizza (not all in one sitting ofcourse). Each of these dishes were great, robust flavours, ample portion sizes and not too big of a hit on the wallet.

That's the beauty of SAVORY COAST, despite the fantastic locale and diverse menu, the prices are fairly reasonable for this fine dining experience. Each time we've come, we've had drinks, appies, mains and a dessert and never paid over $100. That's saying something, especially for a higher end downtown restaurant. That's why we keep coming back, it's the perfect hideaway for a fantastic meal.

It's also worth noting that it won three awards during DINE OUT 2008, Best Appetizers, Best Dessert and Best Menu... that's saying something. Something good!

So if you ever find yourself on Robson Street and want to indulge in some tasty Mediterranean cooking, then head on up to SAVORY COAST. On a sunny afternoon, with a Sangria at you side, you'd swear you were on a foody vacation.